7 things for Saturday (10.12)

1. Got stuck yesterday behind a truck with this bumper sticker: “Just ’cause it’s smokin’ doesn’t mean it’s broken.” This fails both rhythmically and as an attempt at redneck vernacular. It ought to read “Just ’cause it’s smokin’ don’t mean it’s broken.” That balances out the meter and, to my ear, better evokes the Joe six-pack vibe intended by the slogan. I suppose the composer of this bumper sticker may have been attracted to the assonant echo of ’cause it’s and doesn’t, but then to make the meter scan it would need to be because, rather than ’cause, further damaging the redneck authenticity of the slogan. (I’d also substitute ‘cuz for ’cause, but that’s a lesser concern.)

And people said my English major would never be useful.

The social pages say he’s got the biggest balls of all.

2. So on September 30, I flagged this story: “Obama tells Rouhani he’s concerned about jailed U.S. pastor Saeed Abedini.” I noted that this very public story about a public act by President Obama would likely not prevent the liars for Jesus of the religious right from lying and saying it never happened. That took less than two weeks. Here’s Fox News commentator and “religious” “conservative” Todd Starnes speaking at the “Values” Voter Summit: “Our President, who travels across the globe apologizing for the United States of America, yet he cannot utter the words ‘Saeed Abedini’ from his lips. … What is our President doing about it? Why isn’t he picking up the phone, talking to his new BFF, the Iranian president?”

Lying is the religious right’s native language. They lie about everything. Lying is what they do. Lying is what they are.

3. Two Friars and a Fool discuss “3 doctrines that never should have been invented,” nominating inerrancy, complementarianism, and the belief in Hell as a place of eternal, conscious torment. Can’t argue with any of those nominees — they’re all wrong, biblically indefensible and contradicted by reality. OK, then.

4. Defeating the Dragons: “ordeal of the bitter waters, part three.”

5. In progressive Christian congregations, no one cares about petty squabbles over the color of the carpet. Petty squabbles over the Oxford comma, however, are a different matter.

6. Ari Kohen, a connoisseur of public apologies, considers the apology from Hobby Lobby over the craft chain’s not carrying Hannukah materials because — as one Hobby Lobby worker said — “We don’t cater to you people.”

Hobby Lobby does want your money, Jews; now that management is aware that you want to buy things that pertain to your holidays rather than their holidays, they’re considering stocking some of those things in their stores … since they currently do not (which was the initial complaint, if memory serves me). Also, they’re going to direct their employees not to refer to Jews as “you people” in the future (as in, “We don’t cater to you people”) because that seems to discourage shoppers.

7. National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” aired an excellent story yesterday on how the “Shutdown Leaves Some Seniors Worried About Their Next Meal.” The main focus is on how the shutdown has derailed the USDA’s Commodity Supplemental Food Program — a lifeline for many Americans over age 60 who have an income of less than $15,000 a year. The report also noted another reason that “No, private charity can’t handle it alone,” which is that a great deal of “private” charity depends on government assistance. The USDA doesn’t just provide surplus food directly to poor seniors, it also supplies a lot of the food in your local food pantry:

“I could point [out] to you which food is from the government,” says Waverly Knight, assistant director at the Northwest Food Pantry in Grand Rapids.

“We get all of our meat from the government,” she says. Or rather, they did. “Hopefully,” Knight says, “that will come back.”

Aid officials say that nearly one-quarter of USDA’s surplus food trickles down to local pantries. For Knight, that makes up one-half to three-quarters of her inventory. Losing that surplus means it’s slimmer pickings for the families who come here to fill their stomachs.


Happy cornbread anniversary
This day is not imagination's child
Bradley Cooper's amazing performance as a sociopath killer
Keep it loose, keep it tight
  • caryjamesbond

    The south is a strange, strange place.

    Although, Rhubarb, Cassava and fugu are high on my “How did we ever figure out how to safely eat this in the first place?”

  • Eight_Rule_Pig

    Monsanto engages in plenty of sketchy practices; Nike and Apple do too, but my aforementioned friends don’t use this as a basis for denouncing the concepts of sportswear and electronics as such. I have no problem with honest and intelligent critiques of specific biotech companies, I was specifically talking about panicky, anti-intellectual Ludddism. As soon as someone says “Frankenfoods” or “unnatural”, I immediately know they have nothing of value to say on the issue. This is quite a different thing from the ethics of, say, Terminator seeds, and I agree with you on that particular point.

  • Cathy W

    and that’s even *after* the books were (possibly? probably?) edited to emphasize self-reliance and remove references to government programs that helped pioneer farmers…

  • Jim Roberts

    These “bitter waters” posts sound so eerily familiar.

  • AnonaMiss

    Oh my gosh re: golden rice yes. It reminds me so damn much of the GOP “We can’t let Obamacare be implemented because people will like it too much!” I just want to bash my head against a wall until people like that see reason.

  • AnonaMiss

    Yyyyyyesss but also no.

    Remember, there’s no good reason why we haven’t developed any new nuclear power solutions in the past ~50 years, and all our nuclear power plants are legacy. The bad reason is that the anti-nuclear movement successfully lobbied to overregulate any further nuclear development, based solely on evolutionary flaws in our brains.

    Human beings are naturally not good at risk management, and require training to make rational decisions about choices that have catastrophic risk. And so you get our current power situation, where coal and oil power claim more lives and do more damage to the environment than nuclear power would – ridiculously more, if you take into account the difference in potential output – but because that damage is spread out over decades instead of concentrated into occasional bursts, coal and oil are seen as ‘safe’ while nuclear power has been safety-regulated out of existence.

    So I can be sympathetic to the complaint about ‘too much democracy,’ depending on who’s making it and what they’re bothered about. When ‘too much democracy’ means “poor people can vote”, no sympathy. But when ‘too much democracy’ means “people who believe Answers In Genesis have an equal say to experts who have devoted their lives to the study of the biology in determining school biology curricula”, I find myself wishing for a science requirement prerequisite for voter registration.

    I just wish there were some way to ensure voters were informed on their voting subjects, or at least had demonstrated critical thinking skills, without also being disenfranchising. But of course that’s tautologically impossible.

  • AnonaMiss

    Holy fuckshit

  • caryjamesbond

    While I think it’s also probably a “poor people shouldn’t vote” I can see arguments for having “less democracy.” Democracy, like capitalism, isn’t some magical truth handed down from on high- I would be opposed, for example, to a pure democracy, where every new law was put to a referendum vote, instead of going through elected officials.

    And at the same time I recognize that voting restrictions never work in practice and just end up being used against black people- I still wish there was some way to responsible implement a fair, equal test than registered whether you know enough to vote.

    Universal suffrage is the best solution we can come up with- but its like Winston Churchill said- democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others.

  • caryjamesbond

    Eh. If people were convinced that a harmless product I sold would give them cancer, despite an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence to the contrary, I wouldn’t want it being labeled that way either.

  • caryjamesbond

    Given that the entire kickoff of “Little House on the Prairie”is “government giving away free land” you’d think this would be less of an issue, but yeah.

  • Caddy Compson

    This one is evil. That’s the answer from my mom. And when you can say ‘he’s evil,’ he doesn’t have to have any sort of actual motive. Just destruction for its own sake. Because he’s evil.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Well, a stopped clock is right twice a day because…

    “If they’re so convinced it’s fine for people to eat, then they have nothing to hide.”

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The difference is that quantum mechanics has the Correspondence Principle* and Ehrenfest’s Theorem**, both of which prove its connection to the everyday world around us. Macroeconomics may or may not have a similar connection. :P

    * In the limit of large quantum numbers and large length scales, the quantized behavior of objects appears continuous and not discrete.
    ** Quantum mechanical averages equate to classical observables.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I was thinking along the lines of “mercenary jackass who should lose his seat for purposely aiding in sabotaging negotiations between the House and the White House + Senate.”

    But “moron” works too.

  • Lori

    Trust me, “moron” was not the word I was thinking of.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    “We shall allay their baseless fears by hiding the truth from them” said no one ever who wasn’t up to no good*.

    (* Actually, lots of people have said that. They are almost always wrong)

  • caryjamesbond

    If we labled things “honestly” we’d have to label cherries as containing Potassium Cyanide.

    The simple fact is that the problem with GMOs relates entirely to the corporations that make them, and have nothing to do with the actual chemical makeup of the food involved. And opening a door to what is essentially punitive labeling seems like a bad idea. Largely because you’re forgetting the first rule of doors- they go both ways.